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August 02, 2008

IOC Addresses Internet Censorship Issue

If you’re not in Beijing, you may be tired of hearing about restricted Internet access. But for those of us here, or arriving in the next few days, it’s definitely a hot issue. Kevan Gosper, the International Olympic Committee Press Commission Chairman, held a press conference today to discuss the issue with journalists. Gosper recognized that the Internet access restrictions that journalists are currently facing are not within IOC guidelines, but stated, “A working group has been established with BOCOG to start examining sites one by one.”

In a statement released yesterday, the IOC said “the media should be seeing a noticeable difference in accessibility to web sites that they need to report on the Olympic Games.” It’s clear that the issue is not being overlooked now, but I think it should have definitely been resolved before journalists began to arrive. Reporting on the Olympics has already begun, and the Internet has been a key reporting tool in the 21st century.

In a separate press conference held on July 30, Sun Weide, Vice-Director of Media and Communications for BOCOG, stated, “we will be providing full access to the Internet to facilitate your reporting during the Olympic Games. Your reporting job during the Olympic Games will not be affected in any way.” But when asked about whether the government would be monitoring foreign journalists’ Internet access, he failed to provide a clear response. “The use of the Internet in the MPC follows the rules and regulations of the IOC. We provide you with the facility for the use of Internet for your reporting.” As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, for complete peace of mind and unrestricted access, only surf the Web and send email after connecting to your corporate VPN.

Source: Olympic News Service.

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